England have lost the Ashes before Christmas despite Dawid Malan’s late, lone-hand resilience and a controversial three-hour delay after overnight rain got underneath the WACA’s leaky covers.
The tourists were spared 28 of the scheduled 98 overs on the final day of the third Test but had to contend with the mental – and potentially physical – consequences of a pitch left with soft patches around the worn cracks at the Lillee-Marsh end.
They were unable to keep Josh Hazlewood (five for 48) at bay as they folded from 132 for four to 218 all out in under 35 overs to lose by an innings and 41 runs, with a session unused, and hand Australia an unassailable 3-0 series lead.
England received an early boost as rain delayed the start of the final day.
Piers Morgan was quick to doff his cap to the WACA groundstaff for enhancing England’s chances of saving the game.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann was not convinced by the groundstaff’s methods.
After an early lunch was taken to allow the ground to dry, England suffered a major setback in the second over of the afternoon.
Dawid Malan, however, continued his fine game adding a half-century to his first-innings ton.
But Moeen Ali’s dismal campaign continued as again he fell to fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
And the writing was on the fall when Malan was dismissed for 54.
Australia then quickly wrapped up the tail to win back the Ashes.
Pace has been key to Australia’s complete control.
The home side’s bowling unit has been a major factor in their dominance and they took a moment to enjoy the victory alongside their team-mates.
And a moment for remarkable captain Steve Smith, who has scored 426 runs in the series at an average of 142.
England conceded they have been second best.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann hailed the work ethic of his team and staff.
There was plenty of praise for the winners.